England Women Secure Series Victory With A Game To Spare In New Zealand

A brief look at events in New Zealand where one England cricket team is doing well, and a revisit to my radical suggestion for sorting the men’s teams problems with finding good enough spinners.

This post looks briefly at goings on in New Zealand, and then explores a favourite theme of mine. First of all however, a brief…

NEWSFLASH

At 10:55 this morning I received my first Covid-19 jab. I barely felt the needle go into my arm and have as yet experienced no serious side effects. The second jab will be a minimum of four weeks from now and could be as much as 12 weeks. Contrary to what pro-government propaganda sources would have you believe my situation does not count in any sane view as ‘vaccinated’ – I have begun the process of getting vaccinated, but until I have had the second jab I am not actually vaccinated. Also, the government deserves very little credit for the vaccination program – the hard yards are being done by NHS workers, and the extent of government involvement for me was sending me a link I could not use, and a very inefficient helpline system which when I finally got through advised me to contact my surgery, who duly booked me a slot. The government have bungled all along the line, and their lockdown easing plans seem set to continue that trend, going too far too early.

ENGLAND WOMEN GO 2-0 UP WITH ONE TO PLAY IN NZ

A disciplined all round bowling performance, highlighted by Nat Sciver’s 3-26 from nine overs restricted NZ to 192 off 49.5 overs. Tammy Beaumont played the anchor role in the chase, finishing unbeaten on 72, while Sciver completed a fine day’s work by scoring a rapid 63, and keeper Amy Jones completed the job with an equally rapid unbeaten 46. England had seven wickets and 12.2 overs in the bank when they reached the target. Sophie Ecclestone failed to add to her haul of international wickets but did only go for 33 from her 10 overs, an economy rate bettered only by Sciver. Katherine Brunt and leg spinner Sarah Glenn each picked up two wickets and Kate Cross had one, while there were two run outs. Full scorecard here.

The men are struggling in India, but the women are going well, which leads me on to my theme…

ENGLAND MEN’S
SPIN PROBLEMS

In yesterday’s post I argued for the promotion of Parkinson and Virdi from the reserves to the full squad for the final test match, advocating a spin trio of Leach, Virdi and Parkinson. England do not have many other male spinners whose records inspire much confidence. Thus, I suggest that England offer Ecclestone the opportunity to play alongside the men. For those wondering about the women, in addition to Glenn who I have already mentioned here is a sextet of decent spin options available to the women: Linsey Smith, Kirstie Gordon, Sophia Dunkley, Alex Hartley, Helen Fenby and Danielle Gregory. If she bowls well in a few men’s county games, then given her 100+ international wickets she could be fast tracked into the England men’s team and possibly be part of the Ashes campaign at the end of this year.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual sign off…

100 Cricketers – The Sixth XI All-rounders and Introducing the Seventh XI

The latest in my “100 cricketers” series, rounding out the discussion of the sixth XI ancd introducing the seventh XI. As usual it also contains some of my photographs.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest installment in my “100 cricketers” series. This post concludes the look at my sixth XI with a look at the all-rounders and introduces the seventh XI in batting order. The introductory post to the whole series can be found here, the post in which I introduce the sixth XI here and the most recent post in the series here.

+AMY JONES

Her overall batting record looks modest (ODI average 27.33, T20I average 18.20, no tests played yet), but her last seven innings have been 56, 79, 54, 76, 18, 36 and 57, all of them in winning causes. At the age of 25 she should still be improving, and I firmly expect that international centuries will appear against her name sooner rather than later. Sarah Taylor’s absence has given her an opportunity for an extended run at international level and she has taken it splendidly. 

DEEPTI SHARMA

Given that I do not set huge store by records in T20 and that she is yet another top woman cricketer who has had no opportunity to show what she can do in test cricket it is her ODI record that earns her a place in this squad, and her figures in that form of the game are: 48 matches, 1,330 runs at 41.81 with a highest score of 155 and 56 wickets at 27.39 (economy rate 3.87) with a best of 6-20. This means that she is worth a place purely with the bat, and is a genuine front-line spinner to support my West Indian pace quartet (better than anyone who actually provided spin back-up to a WI pace quartet, most often the part-time stuff of Viv Richards, and even Roger Harper, though officially a front-line bowler did not have that great a bowling record), which really strengthens the overall squad. To complete the record on the bowling front, Sanath Jayasuria’s slow left-arm would be the sixth bowling option and Chloe Tryon’s left-arm medium fast would be seventh in the pecking order. Deepti Sharma is a youngster, just 21 years old, which means that her finest years are still ahead of her – look for an already impressive record to get even better. This completes the look at the sixth XI, meaning that it is time to introduce…

THE SEVENTH XI

Here is my seventh XI in batting order:

  1. Gordon Greenidge
  2. Desmond Haynes
  3. Ricky Ponting
  4. Hashim Amla
  5. Heather Knight – vice-captain
  6. *Imran Khan
  7. +Mahendra Singh Dhoni
  8. Daniel Vettori
  9. Pat Cummins
  10. Anya Shrubsole
  11. Amanda Wellington

Note that in this XI I have gone to to the extent of naming a vice-captain – I will explain this in more detail in later posts. For the moment, all I will say is that there are those who would advocate that the no3 in this XI get the captaincy and I wanted to emphasise just how far away he is from that in my thoughts.

PHOTOGRAPHS

The usual finish…

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Plum Warner’s account of the 1926 Ashes (he was chairman of selectors that year)…

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…featuring the famous urn embossed on the front cover

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The title page.

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Fred Root’s field – the four short-leg fielders were the key feature. In the famous bodyline series the much quicker Harold Larwood sometimes had six fielders close-in on the legside – with one deep for the hook and only two fielders in the whole of the offside.

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